Is there a Standard English Grammar?

Feb 3rd, 2012
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I examine the assertion that there are hundreds of grammars around the world and present the case for a Standard English grammar and its implications for the teaching of English throughout the world.

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IS THEREASTANDARDENGLISH GRAMMAR?Published 2013 by Stuart Kelly, Bradford, EnglandReproduced from an original document 2007http://www.stuart-kelly.co.ukI propose firstly, to set out what I understand by the terms prescriptive, descriptiveand pedagogical when applied to the various approaches to English usage. Thenexamine the assertion that there are hundreds of grammars around the world andpresent the case for a Standard English grammar and its implications for theteaching of English throughout the world.Proponents of a prescriptive grammar aim to tell people how to speak a languagerather than to describe how it is spoken. They presuppose the existence of amodel of correct or proper English and may support a particular variety that theyregard as superior to any others.Huddleston and Pullum (2007) assert that there isa long tradition of prescriptive works that are deeply flawed: they simply dontrepresent things correctly or coherently, and some of their advice is bad advice.(p4)As an example, they present a fairly typical prescriptive rule that requires thespeaker to use nominative forms I and they instead of the accusative me andthem in common expressions such as its me or was it them? Such a rule cannotaccount for expressions that are commonly used and accepted by all speakers.Indeed, as Huddleston and Pullum point out, the correct version often meets withgentle ridicule (p5).The prescriptive grammarian

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